Mularkey calls around to help road woes
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Coach Mike Mularkey has come up with a tasty solution to help solve the Buffalo Bills' road woes: cheeseburgers.
Don't laugh. Mularkey said Wednesday he came up with the idea after polling other NFL coaches to find out what they serve players for lunch when making a long trip to the West Coast, as the Bills do this weekend to play at Seattle on Sunday.
"Seriously. I called around," Mularkey said, naming Philadelphia coach Andy Reid as one of the people he contacted. "We're very similar to everyone else in terms of (travel) schedule, but the one difference is cheeseburgers. So we thought, `What the heck?"
Teams traveling to the West Coast arrive earlier than normal in an effort to get acclimated to the time change. The Bills, for example, plan to arrive just after noon Saturday, requiring the team to add an extra meal to its itinerary.
Mularkey doubts something as simple as a cheeseburger will make a difference.
"The only way we can fix things on the road is to win," he said.
But it's clear the Bills will try every trick in the book to turn around their terrible times on the road, where they've lost all four games this season, and 10 of their last 11.
That trend will have to change if the Bills (4-6) intend to make something out of their final stretch, in which they play four of their last six on the road.
"I think it's more mental going on the road," defensive end Chris Kelsay said. "We've struggled on the road, but we want to change that around, get that monkey off our back and play like we do at home on the road."
Buffalo has won four straight at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
In six home games, the Bills have outscored opponents 144-105. But they've been outscored 78-36 on the road. They haven't mustered more than 270 yards offense on the road, and their defense is surrendering an average 311 yards, 45 more than at home.
Quarterback Drew Bledsoe has particularly struggled on the road, where he's completed only three of his 12 touchdowns passes and thrown nine of his 11 interceptions -- including seven in his last two outings.
"There's no secret that we've got to win on the road. That's been kind of an Achilles' heel for us for a while now," Bledsoe said. "We need to come out and put some points on the board early, kind of start taking the crowd out of the game."
Buffalo has opened the scoring once on the road and has been outscored by a combined 54-6 in the first half this season.
The Bills hope they can carry over the momentum from their dominating 37-17 win over St. Louis last Sunday.
It was a game in which Bledsoe enjoyed his first three-touchdown game in almost two seasons, and in which the defense limited the Rams' potent offense to 270 yards.
The Bills have also enjoyed success against NFC West teams, having already beaten St. Louis and Arizona this season.
But the Seahawks (6-4) are 3-1 at home this season, including last weekend's 24-17 win over Miami.
"It's an opportunity, and you have to step up for the challenge," safety Lawyer Milloy said. "We know how to win at home. Our next task is to start winning on the road."
CB Troy Vincent (right knee) did not practice and is expected to miss his eighth straight game. ... WR Josh Reed (left knee) practiced and could return after missing three games. ... Milloy was named the AFC defensive player of the week after registering a career-high three sacks and nine tackles against St. Louis.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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